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Attacks On The Media In April 2004

Policemen Seize Journalists Work Equipment
Mr. Niyi Bello the Akure, Ondo State correspondent of The Guardian newspapers had his tape recorder seized on April 17 while covering an incident of police brutality. The motion camera of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) crew which was at the scene to cover the incident was also seized.

The incident took place at the Akure Branch of Habib Nigeria bank where Local Government workers had gone to collect their entitlements for participation in the National Programme on Immunisation. The Police who were drafted there to maintain law and order cruelly assaulted a pregnant woman who was reportedly feared dead from the beatings. The journalists were at the scene and recording the incidents.

Journalist Brutalised By Security Men Over Publication
A female journalist with Courage Newspapers, Nkoli Ugboma was on April 20 harassed, intimidated and brutalized by security men at the Anambra State Government House.

The governorís security men beat her up over the publication of a story on the front page of her paper on the alleged misunderstanding between the governor and his wife over the scrapping of the office of the First Lady in the State.

The said front-page story titled Ngige Battles Wife? had the by line of Denis Madu Ifeduche

Deputy Governorís Aide Beat Up Reporters.
Two female reporters, Mrs Ebere Nwoji of Daily Champion Newspapers and Uche Nwachukwu of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) were on April 22 beaten up by Security men attached to the Imo state Deputy Governor, Chief Ebere Udeagu shortly after the opening of Imo State Day at the 5th Enugu International Trade Fair.

The reporters were beaten mercilessly with gun butts and whips with blood gushing out of their bodies. Their dresses were torn and they fell into coma and were taken to the hospital where they were admitted for intensive treatment. The same security agents had earlier on prevented the journalists from entering the hall where the deputy governor addressed the press.

The Imo State Deputy Governor later tendered an apology to the Enugu State Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalist. He disclosed that investigations were being carried out on the matter with a view to discipline the officers involved.

Photo-Journalist Assaulted, Camera Damaged
Mr. Dara Fasube, the Vanguard newspaper photographer in Ibadan was on April 22 assaulted by Mr. Nathaniel Saliu, the driver of the Ekiti State Governor at Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan alleging he took photographs of the governorís official jeep.

All attempts to explain his action fell on deaf ears as Mr. Saliu seized his camera which he smashed on the floor, damaging it.

Mr. Fasube explained he had to move close to the jeep in question in order to be able to take shots of a cross section of guests when he was accosted by the driver who accused him of taking shots of the jeep.

He added that while attempting to explain what he was doing, ďhe pulled the camera off my shoulders and smashed it on the groundĒ, and followed the action with slaps, blows and kicks which sent him sprawling to the ground. The humiliating assault would have continued but for the intervention of the Chief security Officer of the Oyo State Governor.

The Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose had gone for the burial ceremony of the late Secretary General of the Yoruba Council of Elders, Justice Adewale Thompson, and at the venue of the ceremony, Mr. Fasube was taking photographs of dignitaries who attended the ceremonies. But this action didnít go down well with the overzealous driver who claimed he thought Mr. Fasube was up to some mischief and in the twinkling of an eye pounced on the photographer and in the process damaged his camera.

There were sharp reactions and condemnation of the driverís action. The NUJ said it strongly condemned the attack and asked the deputy governor to apologise, be responsible for the treatment of the journalists and bring the erring aides to book to serve as a deterrent to other over zealous aides.

The Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose also condemned the attack on the Vanguard photographer, by his driver. He apologized for the attack, paid for a new camera for the photojournalist and suspended his driver to forestall a recurrence.
 

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